Monday, January 13, 2014

Lafayette Cemetery No 1

I told you in my last post that I would show you something that was creepy beautiful. After finally finding a place to park in the Garden District we walked a few streets over to the Lafayette Cemetery No 1. 

It's strange to say that a cemetery could be beautiful but it was truly stunning. We walked quietly and respectfully throughout all of the graves; many of which were destroyed during Hurricane Katrina. 

If you don't know why or have never seen the above ground burial vaults here is a little history on why New Orleans buries their dead above ground:

The custom of above-ground burial in New Orleans is a mixture of folklore and fact. New Orleans is certainly not the only city with a high water table, but it has, at 90%, the largest percentage of above-ground burials. New Orleans' first formal cemetery, the St. Peter Street Cemetery, was located in what is now the French Quarter. According to accounts of the time, all deceased were buried in the ground. Accounts of the time also stated that when graves were dug, they frequently filled up with water, resulting in watery graves.

Following a series of nasty epidemics in the early 1830s, which were often blamed on noxious fumes emitted by corpses, the city council passed an ordinance requiring all further burials to take place on land purchased on the Bayou St. John. But an important exemption was made: burials could continue at the existing cemeteries if they were in tombs and vaults in existing above-ground structures.

This fortified the tradition of above-ground burial for New Orleanians.

I'll just let these pictures speak for themselves:

And that wraps up our trip to New Orleans!